Can someone collect on a bill if you never actually hired their company?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can someone collect on a bill if you never actually hired their company?

I asked a friend for help putting up a fence. We agreed that most of the labor would be barter for materials I had. He agreed to charge only labor for workers he was going to

have help, not himself. It took 2 months to complete a 330′ fence, with him only coming out to help 4 times. At random times when it was convenient for him. Never did he give me any actual amount this help would cost. Then, 7 months later, he showed up at my gate at 9:30 pm and handed me a homemade bill, alleging that I owed him $2,000. I did not agree to the bill. Now his wife is trying to collect money from me saying I hired

her company to perform the work, when at no such time did I ever hire her company. I would just like to know where do I stand and what can I do?

Asked on December 7, 2016 under Business Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You asked your friend to do work and you allowed him to do the work: therefore, you have to pay the agreed-upon amount--i.e., for his workers. It doesn't matter whether they choose to bill you under her company's name or under his name directly: when you allow someone to do work for you, you have to pay them, both under a contractual theory (even if it was an oral, or unwritten, contract) and to avoid "unjust enrichment," or improperly benefiting by taking someone else's work without paying for it. Obviously, when you pay you should do so only after getting a written agreement that the amount you are paying is payment in full for all work done by "John Doe" and "Jane Doe, Inc." for your fence.
It doesn't matter that you did not get firm or detailed estimate in advance: by what you have written, you agreed to pay the "labor for workers" without qualifying what that amount would be in advance. Agreeing to pay whatever that labor was, you have to pay it; and if you did not want to incur an obligation to pay without detailing it in advance, you could have refused to let your friend or his workers do the work. Yes, maybe it was a bad idea to agree to have work done without knowing the cost in advance, but that's what you did, by coming to an agreement with him and letting him do the work.
It would be reasonable to ask for documentation of the labor costs and then only pay that amount, per what you had agreed.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption